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BTME was a roaring success and everyone left Harrogate with a spring in their step anticipating the new season with relish. Alas, the weather has been playing its part again in spoiling thoughts we had of an early start to the season. Here Alan Abel from Complete Weed Control gives his thoughts for April.

There is nothing but sadness for all those flooded out of their homes, and no end to their plight is in the offing for the foreseeable future.

As far as our industry is concerned, all involved in turf husbandry are struggling either to make surfaces playable, or get anything done whatsoever. The ground everywhere is like a sodden sponge, where just walking on it has a marking effect.

We will need two or three weeks with a dry easterly wind to help with the drying process and enable much needed fertilizer programmes to start on large areas of leached sports grounds.

These recent conditions have led to swards that are hungry so now is a good time to get soil samples done and analysed. With the correct programmes put in place when the 'big dry out' does eventually happen, turf should recover quickly.

On a happier note; the temperatures are remaining quite reasonable, but this is leading to a lot of early growth of weeds. The temptation is for an early spray, but as previously said; it's economically advantageous to wait till the real season starts.

The other problem blooming is Moss. We talked of this last month and the weather has only exaggerated the problem we all have with this invasive nuisance. Talking of invasives; because of all the flooding, those near water courses should be vigilant for the germination of Himalayan Balsam. This pink flowered weed looks very delicate just now and for a few weeks to come, before becoming a real issue on river banks, whilst being capable of spreading very quickly.

Another invasive that may be taking advantage of the lousy weather is Japanese Knotweed, as this also spreads through flood ravaged areas. Remember, a piece weighing 0.062 grammes can be viable and grow into a mature plant.

The chafer grub population this year is also high along with the leatherjacket count. Additionally worms are causing unsightly castes and providing weeds with a ready-made seed bed. I'm not trying to sound like a harbinger of doom, with pestilence around every corner, just bringing these problems that may be lurking into focus.

Complete Weed Control has over 40 Amenity Assured Standard franchisees in the field, ready to help all turf managers’ deal with any of the problems outlined above. Please call for a survey of nuisance plants, a soil sample service, and a price on worm, leatherjacket or chafer control.

Let's just hope the weather 'plays ball' and we can all start to make inroads into the work ahead.

For more information, please contact Complete Weed Control’s National office on 01325 324 277 or visit www.completeweedcontrol.co.uk

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